Will High-Net Worth Couples in Lockdown Run to Divorce Court?

While some couples who are stuck inside together due to stay at home orders, quarantine, or shutdowns to slow the spread of the coronavirus are making the most of it and catching up on their favorite Netflix shows, reading all the books they’ve been wanting to read, experimenting with new recipes and making TikTok videos, many would argue that’s more the exception than the norm.

People need space and the truth is that as people are being forced to stay inside together, many of them are getting on each other’s nerves and asking themselves, “Why am I married to this person if I can’t stand spending so much time with them?”

Right now, some of the most popular hashtags on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are #stayhome #quarantineandchill, and #withme, but the reality is that these hashtags aren’t necessarily painting a very realistic picture among quarantined families. While the shutdowns are expected to lead to a spike in divorces as they did in China, we’re going to discuss how the lockdowns are affecting high-asset couples in particular.

Unique Challenges Faced By Wealthy Couples

It’s no secret that Governor Cuomo directed all non-essential businesses and schools to stay closed through April 29th. And to further combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, the state increased its fines against New Yorkers who violated the social distancing protocol from $500 to $1,000.

With stay home orders in effect, couples from all socioeconomic classes are being forced to stay indoors together, which is creating a unique challenge for certain high-net-worth couples for the following reasons:

  • Many wealthy couples do not spend a lot of time together because one or both spouses are on the road traveling for work most of the time. When they go from barely seeing each other to spending every waking moment together, they can not only get on each other’s nerves, but realize they don’t have a lot in common.
  • It’s not uncommon for a wealthy person to marry a spouse who is very different than them. Perhaps the less-wealthy spouse doesn’t have the same level of education or wealth, but they make up for it in their vibrant youth and movie star good looks. To the spouses, it’s a win-win union and everyone is happy...until they are quarantined together and learn they’re much happier when they’re apart and indulging in their individual hobbies separately.
  • If one spouse has a drug or alcohol problem, it may have been much easier to hide it from the other spouse when they spent a lot of time apart while working on their career, but when in quarantine, the addiction is not so easy to disguise and a divorce can ensue.

Will America see a spike in divorce cases once the states ease up on their lockdowns and let people resume their normal lives? Ask any divorce attorney and they’ll probably all have a similar answer: “It is very likely that we’ll see a surge in divorce cases when the stay home orders are released.” While this applies to married couples in general, some wealthy couples who were used to spending a lot of time apart may be using their newly-found free time to strategize their upcoming divorce filings.

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